January 27, 2015

A New Name

Isaiah 62

You will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.

—  Isaiah 62:2

I often refer to this passage when I meet with a couple for premarital counseling. Isaiah's words may not immediately seem to speak of marriage, but they address themes that remind us of the work God does in marriage. God brings a husband and wife together to reflect God's righteousness, to delight in one another's love, and to protect the peace of their home. Marriage changes their identity to the point where they are no longer individuals but one, each belonging to the other.

Not everyone gets married, and even good marriages occasionally lack joy. But at its best, marriage pictures something of the relationship between Christ and his people (Ephesians 5:21-32). Jesus and his people are one: he takes the sin and weakness we bring to the relationship, and we receive his righteousness and the joy of heaven.

Something new happens in salvation. God gives us a new name, a new identity: we are joined together with Christ. Isaiah pictures God publicly declaring his delight in us. Christ doesn't just help us make the best of this life; he offers the promise of eternal life, when his people will be "the praise of the earth."

Married couples keep learning what it means to be joined together; Christians grow in their relationship with Christ. May you grow in that way this year.

Thank you, Father, for delighting in us. Remind us of the new name that is ours by grace, and help us to rest in your unceasing work to make us objects of your praise. Amen.j

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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